March 27, 2005

New Kid on the block

There may be a new Kid on the block.

Hoops, playing his first game in more than a year, ran, slid and deked to lead his side to an easy 20-13 win and draw comparisons from some of the roadsters to a young Kid.

"He's got a lot of Kid in him," says Wink of the resurrected speedster, who missed all of last season and the first five months of the current campaign with an injured hip and other distractions. "He burned us pretty bad, he seemed to shake us like a Polaroid picture."

"I think he's a new Kid in the making," says Wendel. "He's got the hands, he made some really nice moves, he adapts well to the changing court conditions, he was sliding around out there like the Kid, maybe a little less controlled, but just as fearlessly."

"He does seem to be on the road to being another Kid," says Beetle Boy. "When he stared sliding and chipping the ball up, that reminded me of Kid."

Indeed, Hoops seems to have used his time off constructively, maturing into a more patient player as time and again he waited for defenders to commit before going deftly around them or for the goalie to go down before roofing a chipshot into the top of the net.

"He's learned the game," says Lak Attack of his protege, whom he first brought to the courts as a shy youngster with an abundance of speed but not much hockey sense. "He's a little more patient, a little more positional."

"He's come a long way," says Wink. "He showed a lot of speed, he was playing hopscotch, kicking the ball."

"He adds a whole other dimension to the attack," says Wendel. "He was playing fearlessly, very enthusiastically, and he kept the other team back on their heels."

So much so, Hoops and his mates never trailed as they used their speed, pinpoint passing and tenacious backchecking to fluster their overmatched opponents into submission.

"They were getting frustrated," says Beetle Boy. "They couldn't quite get their lines working, their passes weren't as crisp, and we were getting the bounces. We just kept trying to take it to them."

"I think our gameplan was just to get the outlet pass, take the shot and go from there, go after rebounds," says Lak Attack.

"We had to stay focused and make good things happen," says Wendel.

Posted by jaysuburb at 06:08 PM | Comments (34)

March 20, 2005

Roadsters fail rain test

It wasn't the lack of players or the lack of goaltenders that scuttled Sunday's game, it was the lack of fortitude.

With a cold, driving rainstorm drenching the court, a handful of sullen roadsters gathered around the net to ponder their immediate future. They weren't too optimistic. While the players had endured inclement weather and indifferent teammates before, the game always prevailed. But a soggy season, including weeks of relentless rain, snow and cold in January, had finally taken its toll.

"I thought we'd moved beyond that and had some more hardcore roadsters," says Bird, who paid the price for his perseverance when he missed a game earlier this season suffering from the flu.

"There's been days when we've played in this, and the fact there's not enough guys today is kinda telling about where peoples' heads are at," says fellow founding father, Wink. "I've shown up sick, I've shown up hurt, I've shown up sad, and I'm sure there's a handful of guys who have too."

"They've all got the heart of a Beetle Boy right now," says Elvis of his fellow roadsters, comparing them to the game's most notorious fair-weather player. "They're getting soft."

Sunday's cancelation was the second game to be lost to weather this season. Another game in early january was called off because of a snow and ice storm. They're the first games to be lost outright to weather since the infamous blizzard of '99. And even when the weather has been good, games have been plagued by surprise no-shows and late arrivals.

"It doesn't help when you have five nice weeks of good weather and then you get a week of crappy weather," says Billy Idol. "Some of these guys think they're all that, but when it counts, they don't show up."

"It's all about dedication," says Wink. "It's all about understanding that you have to make it through these games to get to the big games. You have to be a guy who's here for all of it."

"We're getting towards the end of the season, and you wanna be playing as much as possible," says Bird.

"It's hard to keep the momentum going as it is, and when you're faced with something like this, it just makes it really tough," says Elvis.

Posted by jaysuburb at 01:26 PM | Comments (8)

March 13, 2005

Goal breaks drought, brings win

Kid ripped a bullet through a traffic jam in front of Lobsterboy to break his side's 40-minute scoring drought and launch their way to a 20-16 win in Sunday's second annual Beer Challenge.

It was a breakthrough goal for a team had been gripping their sticks ever tighter and blasting their desperate shots ever higher after giving up five straight goals to turn a 16-9 romp into a two-goal nailbiter.

"It was a huge goal," says the Colonel, who, with the win, was able to collect the beer booty from his arch-rival, Paul One. "We were in trouble, they were charging, that 17th goal was a momentum shifter."

"It was huge," says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, who had earlier found the range with his patented point blasts. "We went from having no confidence at all to having all the confidence in the world, from thinking 'O my god, we're going to lose,' to 'O my god, there's no way we're not gonna win.'"

"Getting that goal was like pulling finger out of dike," says Pig Farming Goalie, who won his second straight game.

Indeed, another goal quickly followed, making the end result seem inevitable.

"They really sparked up," says Beetle Boy of his revived rivals. "We made some crucial mistakes, they got two quick ones and I think the writing was on the wall at that point."

But for a long stretch of Sunday's game, it seemed as if another ending would be written. For the Colonel and his mates, the seeds of their near collapse may have been sown when the Living Legend left the game after a handful of ineffective shifts to nurse a miserable cold. Suddenly a side with two balanced lines had to stagger its shifts, upsetting their chemistry and weakening their legs.

"I think we hit the wall as far as our energy level went," says the Colonel. "We ended up losing the Legend... and, as the game wore on, we just got more and more tired."

"When we lost the sixth guy, suddenly the chemistry we had with our lines was gone," says Wink. "Guys were tired, it just didn't work."

Meanwhile, their opponents, with two extra pairs of legs powering their offense, came to life.

"We just started to run," says Paul One, as his team clawed their way to within two goals. "We seemed to be real slow at the beginning, they were beating us to all the balls, and then it went the other way, we were beating them to every ball in our end and their end."

"They started checking very hard, and it turned tide a little bit," says PFG of his feisty foes. "They had the drive and the momentum, their heart almost pushed them through to a win."

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:11 PM | Comments (23)

March 06, 2005

Kid cries for stick, loss

Kid shed a tear when he broke his stick early in Sunday's game, but the rest of his team was ready to cry after they turned a six-goal lead into a 21-19 overtime loss.

For the diminutive deker, who scored nine goals with his backup stick after another player stepped on his favorite weapon and split the blade, it was an especially bitter pill to swallow. Long after his side had packed their equipment and retreated to their cars, he still sat slumped against the fence, his head hung in disbelief.

"He was scoring like crazy," says Wendel of Kid's futile heroics. "But you can't ride one player the whole game, and the rest of the team has got to find a way to get the ball into the back of the net."

For Sunday's unlikely winners, the tide started to turn when they figured out they actually had to check the Kid, to keep him in check.

"I think it was finally us clueing in on the Kid," says Lobsterboy of his side's startling reversal of fortune. "We've just got to keep picking on him...we got under his skin and slowed him down."

"We were playing a lot better, we started covering them more," says Pig Farming Goalie.

And with that improvement came confidence. Disorganized and disconsolate through the game's first half, as Kid piled up the goals at will, the underdogs needed to start believing in themselves. That may have happened when they checked Cowboy Bill into a fit of frustration.

"Watching Cowboy break his stick, that always starts us to think positive," says Lobsterboy.

"We were down by a lot, but I didn't think we were that bad," says Bird.

Emboldened, they rolled their lines quicker, drove into the corners harder, creating scoring opportunities.

"We kept getting fresh legs out there so we could razzledazzle them," says Lobsterboy.

"I think we started to play slightly better defensively," says Pig Farming Goalie. "Sometime you hope your team start to get some momentum, and when it got to 14-10 or so, we started on big streak."

A streak that eventually tied the game at 18, stalled when Nibs scored to regain the lead for his embattled side, then concluded with three straight goals, two of them seeing-eye shots into the corners of the net by the Living Legend.

"The office started opening for the Living Legend, and then it was just lucky goal after lucky goal," says Lobsterboy.

"To end on two lousy cheap goals like that, it just makes you wanna cry," says Wendel.

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:55 PM | Comments (11)